What does love look like?
Dear New York,
I have to admit that I fall in love with you a little bit more every year. You continue to reveal your strengths and weaknesses, but I can’t help but think we are perfect for one another.
Even though there have been ongoing struggles, heartbreaks, and rejections, I wouldn’t change a thing. In fact, I want to thank you for being the most loyal friend, boyfriend, and partner. While the pavement of the concrete jungle might occasionally destroy my designer heels, my love for you is unconditional because of all that you have given and continue to give me.
Me loving the streets of New York in my heels.
To be honest, growing up I didn’t feel beautiful. I wasn’t a fan of my curly hair and I was my harshest critic. Over time, I learned to realize my unique beauty, and I made it my mission to bring that joy of learning to love yourself to those around me.
However, when I first came to New York, I started my career in advertising sales. It was there that I was shocked by the images that were flooding the advertising industry. Young teen models were being made up to look like thirty-year-olds, so as to create an unattainable standard of beauty for women. I was deeply disappointed.
Furthermore, the clothing on these models was nothing that I would ever envision wearing as a young professional. I wanted clothing that felt feminine, professional, and represented ME! I couldn’t find it anywhere, which finally led me to design clothes for myself. People would stop me on the street multiple times a day and ask me, “Where did you get that dress?”
I eventually decided to leave my job in advertising and go back to fashion school. Upon graduation, despite having been in business my whole life, I made the bold decision to start from scratch and launch what has now become the global fashion brand CARRIE HAMMER.
My career as a designer ultimately began when I was asked to present at New York Fashion Week, the highest honor for any designer. The show ended up being one that would forever change my life and shape the mission of my brand.
Thinking back to the disappointment I felt in my advertising days, I realized this could be the defining moment in which I bring new faces to the runway: not traditional models, but women whom I admire and respect. All of my clients were exceptional role models: CEOs, executives, doctors, activists, and philanthropists. I therefore made the call to each of them, and all ecstatically accepted to walk the runway.
The show was stunning and was a landmark moment for New York Fashion Week. Instead of being uniform and limited in their appearance, they were beautiful in their variety. What they embodied was true individuality. They weren’t one-dimensional, but multi-faceted in their passion, purpose, and accomplishments. This is what beauty looks like when it’s not about runways, but about role models.
One of our beautiful Role Models, Dr. Danielle Sheypuk.
That day, a powerful movement was born, and the definition of what it means to be beautiful was forever altered. There are many individuals I have to thank for making that day possible, but a special thank you will always go to you, New York, for inspiring me to dream of what others had thought impossible.
I am proud to say I love you, New York. To remind myself how lucky I am to live in your gorgeous city, I love wearing my ALEX AND ANI Pull Cord Bracelet inspired by you. You’re a constant reminder of the beautiful opportunities the community and environment have provided me, and for that I am eternally grateful.